The Attractive Praetor
The client Cordelia searches for those affiliated with the Order of Holy Knights, but something seems amiss. When (Captain) and company help Cordelia fight off imperial spies, she reveals her true identity and joins the crew.
Headquarters of the Order of Holy Knights...
A commanding voice echoes across the solemn assembly hall.
Praetor: Take heed: I will now recite the decree from our commander.
Praetor: Too many of our members have been leaving the order on a whim as of late. But of particular concern is the disappearance of our captain.
Praetor: Those who disregard the time-honored traditions of the Order of Holy Knights are an insult to His Eminence!
Praetor: I hereby command you to seek out these traitors and subject them to an inquisition!
???: Aye. I swear upon my sword, body, and soul to pursue all that is just.
???: (Charlotta Fenia, the greatest captain our order has ever seen...)
???: (A Harvin's miniature frame may not be fit for battle, but her incredible swordsmanship and charisma transcend such limitations.)
???: (As far back as my memory stretches, this inquisition may be my most difficult mission yet.)
And so, the Order of Holy Knights unleashes its trump card.
Having accepted an assignment from Sierokarte, (Captain) and company wait for their client at a restaurant.
Their arranged meeting time comes and goes, but the client doesn't seem to show.
Just as the crew gets ready to leave, some girls in the restaurant begin to squeal in delight.
Fair Maiden 1: Yoo-hoo! You there! Mm, you're quite the looker. Why don't you sit next to me?
Fair Maiden 2: Well I'll be! I've never seen such a fine man in all my life!
Lyria: Hm? What's happening there? Maybe one of them is the client?
Drawn by Lyria's voice, the attractive individual approaches the crew and ignores the women making passes at her.
She introduces herself as Cordelia and bows in deference.
Cordelia: Skyfarers, I apologize for my tardiness. I lost track of time trying to turn down the advances of so many fair maidens.
Vyrn: Whoa, is this guy just stuck-up or what? Or maybe that's just how cool he is!
Cordelia: Haha, I'll take that as a compliment. But I am actually a woman, my little sire.
Vyrn: Pff, no way!
She goes on to explain that the assignment is to find certain missing people. But something doesn't add up.
As it turns out, the missing people are not ordinary individuals.
Cordelia: I figured skyfarers, who travel more than anyone else, would surely have heard something...
Lyria: Um, what kind of people are you looking for?
Cordelia: Well, it's a bit complicated. Have you ever heard of the Order of Holy Knights?
(Hm? Didn't we have someone like that in the crew?)
Vyrn: (Lyria, wait up. Something's fishy here.)
Lyria: (Something's fishy?)
Vyrn: (Yeah. I don't know how to put it, but I think we should ask for more details first.)
Vyrn: Hey, miss! Why are you searching for people from Lumiel anyway?
Cordelia: Are you saying you know something about them?
Vyrn: Erm, no... I was just wondering. Hehe...
Hmm, never heard of 'em.
Lyria: Same here.
Vyrn: Hey, miss! Why are you searching for people from Lumiel anyway?
Cordelia sends the crew a sharp glance before responding.
Cordelia: That's not public knowledge. Due to the nature of the mission, I can tell you no more.
Lyria: Huh? What mission?
Cordelia: Anyway, I just need you to help me search for people affiliated with the Holy Knights.
Cordelia: If you're not up to it, feel free to turn me down. I'll simply ask other skyfarers.
Despite Lyria's and Vyrn's reservations, (Captain) promptly accepts the request.
(Oy, (Captain)! Why would you accept an assignment like this?)
Lyria: (That's right! Who knows what she has in mind for our crew members!)
Vyrn: (Huh? Wait a sec. Lyria, it's the other way around.)
Lyria: (What? The other way around?)
Vyrn: (If we agree to do this, she'll have little reason to suspect us!)
Vyrn: (So if we just pretend to look for these people and lead her in a different direction, it might just work out for us. Right, (Captain)?)
(Hey wait, (Captain). I really don't know about this... Don't you think she seems fishy?)
Lyria: (I was thinking that too. Especially when you consider she won't tell us anything.)
Vyrn: (Gulp... Let me guess... You accepted just to figure out why she's looking for those people?)
Lyria: Ah, that makes perfect sense, (Captain)!
Cordelia: What makes perfect sense?
Lyria: Yikes! Uh, no, it's nothing!
Cordelia: Oh? In that case, we have a deal. Good luck with the job.
The crew chases after sightings of anyone matching the description of the missing people.
Madam 1: Hi there, handsome. You must be the one who put in the request about missing people.
Madam 2: Teehee. Come closer, darlin'. I'll tell you everything you want to know and then some.
Cordelia: To receive assistance from such lovely ladies would be a blessing.
Just as Cordelia sweet talks them back and approaches with a smile...
One of the madams suddenly whips out a sharp knife.
Cordelia sidesteps the dagger at the last possible moment and pins the woman down.
Lyria: Yikes! What's going on?
Cordelia: Hehe, making merry with gossipy women is all part of the job.
Cordelia: My good looks usually come in handy for that.
Cordelia: But unfortunately, things like this do happen every now and then.
Cordelia: Surely you imperial spies understand my meaning.
Caught off guard, the women signal each other by matching glances.
They realize their cover is blown and draw their knives, each with a vicious grin.
Female Spy 1: Tch... Curse you, Cordelia Garnet, Temptress of Lumiel!
Female Spy 2: Hahaha, prepare yourself! We are sworn to take out any who oppose the empire!
The women attack like savage animals.
Cordelia steps up in front of (Captain) and company.
Cordelia: I think we can call an end to this assignment. Leave the rest to me. You should take your leave.
But the crew has no intention of leaving. They ready their weapons for what's to come.
Cordelia: For goodness sake... Hehe, I guess we're in this together.
Cordelia is vastly outnumbered. But with the crew's help, she gets through the situation unscathed.
After thanking the crew, Cordelia smiles awkwardly as she begins to reveal her true identity.
Cordelia: Now that I've dragged you into this, I suppose I'll have to tell you the truth.
Cordelia: I am Cordelia Garnet, the last resort of the praetors of the Lumiel Order of Holy Knights.
Cordelia: We praetors support the main military units through reconnaissance, sabotage, and diversionary tactics.
Cordelia: Similar to undercover operatives, we often take on classified missions requiring persuasion and assassination.
Cordelia: I, in particular, am well-known for exposing traitors in our midst through inquisition.
Cordelia: Since I specialize in unmasking possible turncoats, many among the order despise me. I've long forgotten how to trust people.
Lyria: Hey, Cordelia. What's this inquisition you keep talking about?
Cordelia: Hehe, it might be faster for me to demonstrate.
Cordelia approaches (Captain) with a smile.
Cordelia: In the name of His Eminence, the Holy Knights shall now pass the divine judgment of inquisition upon you!
Cordelia: Swear to the azure sword that you will speak no falsehoods as you state your justice!
Choose: My justice is... Erm...
- My justice is... Erm...
- Do I have to spell it out for you?
Cordelia: Haha, it must be embarrassing for you to speak like this in front of everyone. I imagine you see everything you do for your friends as justice.Choose: Do I have to spell it out for you?
Cordelia: Heh, I thought you'd say that.
Cordelia: Ah, the trust you place in your friends is a beautiful thing.Continue 1
Suddenly, Cordelia comes to an epiphany and breaks into laughter.
Cordelia: Ahahaha... So that's how it is, eh?
Cordelia: You know where they are, don't you? The people I'm looking for...
Cordelia: Don't worry. I won't force the answer out of you. Your silence is your justice after all.
Cordelia: But now I have more reason than ever to spy on your crew.
Lyria: Umm... Does that mean you'll be joining us?
Vyrn: Hey, hey, Sneaky-delia. You can't really call it spying if we know about it.
Cordelia: Well then, I guess you have the upper hand for now.
The secretive knight Cordelia joins the crew, bringing with her a wave of uneasiness.
Holy Knight or Fair Maiden?
Cordelia reunites with Bridgette, a former comrade-in-arms, and reprimands her for leaving the order unannounced. Bridgette, on the other hand, is simply overjoyed to see Cordelia again and takes her to a bookstore.
Cordelia: I've found you at last...
Cordelia: What a twist of fate this is. To think that you'd be the first...
Cordelia Garnet of the Holy Knights' praetors finally finds one of the missing people.
To top it all off, Cordelia is well-acquainted with this one.
Bridgette: Hiya, my dearest Cordelia! It's been so long! The last time I saw you, we were still squires!
Bridgette is surprisingly casual despite Cordelia's solemn expression.
Cordelia sighs, defeated by Bridgette's lightheartedness.
Cordelia: Um, Bridgette... I'd prefer you refrain from calling me your dearest.
Cordelia: As contemporaries in the order, I'd hate to sentence you. But I will do what I must to accomplish my mission. Forgive me...
Cordelia: Former Holy Knight Bridgette, your fellow holy knights shall now pass the divine judgment of inquisition upon you!
Cordelia: Swear to the azure sword that you will speak no falsehoods as you state your justice!
Bridgette answers with complete confidence.
Bridgette: Sure! Justice to me is, without a doubt, doing ten good deeds a day!
Awestruck at such a childish answer, Cordelia sighs even deeper.
Cordelia: Haaah... Bridgette, please don't disappoint me.
Cordelia: I thought you might have matured a bit, but you haven't changed at all.
Cordelia: Are you listening, Bridgette? Hey! Where do you think you're going? This inquisition is not over yet!
For whatever reason Bridgette ignores Cordelia's questioning and saunters away.
She then goes around helping people in need, quickly building up to her quota of ten good deeds a day.
Cordelia: An old man lugging around heavy equipment... A child scared by a stray dog... A shopkeeper cowering in fear of angry customers...
Cordelia: What's next, Bridgette? Did you just bring out a ladder from one of the houses?
Cordelia: Ahahaha... You'd go so far as to prune the trees by the roadside?
Cordelia: With how pushy you're going about it, you're probably causing more harm than good. How can you possibly call these good deeds?
Just then Cordelia notices something unusual.
Cordelia: No, wait... That's not it.
Old Woman: Oh my, hah hah. It's just like Bridgette to rush into things headfirst.
Child: Ahahaha... Bridgette might be even clumsier than me!
Cordelia: Their faces tell everything... No one thinks of Bridgette as a bother. But rather...
Bridgette: Hey, what're you doing over there, Cordelia? You're up next!
Bridgette then proceeds to tug at Cordelia's sleeves.
Cordelia: Huh? What are you talking about? Don't forget your inquisition hasn't ended yet.
Bridgette: Let's go. Go, go, go!
Cordelia: Cut that out, Bridgette. I'm not going anywhere.
Village Girl: Aah! What a handsome looking man! Please, stay a moment longer!
Village Lady: Ehehe... I don't think I've seen you around here. I take it you're a traveler? How would you like a tour of the town?
Bridgette: See? You're amazing, Cordelia! The town loves you already!
Cordelia: Not really. I only use my charm because it's part of the mission. Otherwise it's just a bother.
Bridgette: Hmm, you really think so? Ooh, here we are at the store! In we go!
Cordelia: Sigh, you never listen, do you?
Cordelia: This is...
Bridgette: Teehee, this place is filled to the brim with romance books. After I found it I knew I should show you.
Cordelia: Wait! How do you know about that?
Bridgette: Hm, am I mistaken? Weren't you always taken with epic poems describing the thrilling romantic episodes of—
Cordelia: Stop talking! Just stop!
Bridgette: C'mon, we joined the order in the same year! It's only natural that I'd know at least that much about you!
Cordelia: How... How did it come to this?
Bridgette: Oh, I see. You like them all so much you have trouble choosing? No worries! I'll help you pick out a few.
Bridgette: Hehe, I know just your type, Cordelia!
Cordelia: B-Bridgette! That's going too far!
Bridgette: Aw, no need to be bashful. I'm only here to help! Ten good deeds a day, here I come!
As their banter continues, the door of the shop suddenly swings open.
Ruffian: It's you, ain't it? The one that's been makin' moves on mah girl.
Village Girl: Huh? Stop it! He didn't do anything like that! All he did was talk to me!
Ruffian: Argh, shut up already! Look at ya reading poetry like the lil' sissy ya are!
Cordelia: Heh, you see how it is, Bridgette? My good looks invite disaster too.
Holy Knight or Fair Maiden?: Scene 2
Bridgette leads Cordelia from place to place, culminating in a visit to a beautiful flower garden. Although Cordelia has never told anyone about her love of flowers, Bridgette sees right through her.
After fighting off the hot-tempered thug and clearing everything up, Bridgette goes back to dragging Cordelia around.
Cordelia: What is it now, Bridgette? Where do you plan on taking me next?
Bridgette: Everywhere! Let's go hiking next!
Cordelia: (Geez, you're as pushy as I remember...)
The two go on hiking through the woods, all while Cordelia reminisces about the past.
Cordelia: (Why, this feels awfully familiar...)
Cordelia: (Ah yes... Back in those days, when we were still squires and hadn't been anointed to the order yet...)
I was sparring with Bridgette.
She was a complete novice and didn't stand a fighting chance; yet she kept coming at me.
Cordelia: Bridgette, why don't you give up already? You'll never beat me.
Bridgette: Never say never! I'll get you one day!
Cordelia: Why do you try so hard? The height disadvantage alone is a huge handicap for you. You'd be better off polishing your other talents.
Bridgette: It doesn't matter how far behind I am now. I'll catch up to you eventually! Just you watch!
Bridgette: Because if I don't, you'll always be stuck trying to save yourself.
Bridgette: Cordelia, I want to always be a friend you view as your equal.
Bridgette: I'll give it my all! I'll get back up everytime and keep moving forward!
Bridgette: When you're in trouble one day, I'll be there to help you. That's a promise, Cordelia.
Bridgette: Look, Cordelia! We're here!
The two come out of the woods and into a beautiful field of flowers.
Cordelia: From poems to flower gardens...
Bridgette: You liked flowers too, right, Cordelia? I promised to show you a flower garden one day...
Cordelia: You see right through me, Bridgette. You might make a better praetor than me.
Bridgette: No, Cordelia. That's not true.
Bridgette: You're the best praetor there is. I'm sure of it.
Bridgette: I only have one request of you. Please stop pushing yourself so hard. If that's too much to ask, then at the very least...
Bridgette: I want you to be the real you when it's just the two of us!
Cordelia: The real me?
Cordelia is at first taken aback by such a forthright request but immediately understands Bridgette's intent.
Cordelia: Sigh, you're too much for me.
A gentle breeze caresses their skin.
Unfortunately, the ominous sound of violently flapping wings approaches, ruining the picturesque moment.
Cordelia: Fall back, Bridgette! I'll take it from here!
Bridgette: Absolutely not! I'll show you what I can do!
Cordelia: Haha, I almost forgot... Let us fight together then, my dearest Bridgette!
Holy Knight or Fair Maiden?: Scene 3
Cordelia's missions as a praetor make it very easy for her to lose herself, but Bridgette helps her remember who she is. Perhaps as thanks or as a way of covering her embarrassment, Cordelia sweeps Bridgette up like a princess and pokes fun at her.
Village Girl: Ooh, talk about a gorgeous knight in shining armor! Hey, Prince Charming, why don't you stop by for a cup of tea?
Village Lady: Praise the skies! That hunk's coming this way! Howdy, how'd you like some of these freshly-picked vegetables from my garden?
Cordelia is as popular as ever with the ladies. Curiously enough, Bridgette rolls her eyes and quips in response.
Bridgette: Humph. Prince Charming? Hunk? They really don't know you, do they?
Bridgette: Truth is, there doesn't exist a girl lovelier than you, Cordelia!
Cordelia flashes Bridgette a mischievous grin.
Cordelia: You really think so, huh?
Cordelia suddenly sweeps her up like a princess.
Bridgette: Aagh, Cordelia! What do you think you're doing?
Cordelia: Haha, just like how you know me so well, I noticed your feelings for me too.
Cordelia: Tell me if I'm wrong, Bridgette.
Cordelia gives her an intense, soul-piercing gaze.
Bridgette's face turns deep red as she flutters her hands and feet.
Bridgette: W-w-what are you talking about! T-that's not—
Cordelia: Ahahaha, I'm only kidding.
Cordelia: I wasn't about to hear you say all that without getting a little payback of my own.
Bridgette: Cordelia, you jerk!
Cordelia chuckles at an irate Bridgette. It's been too long since Cordelia's been able to be her true self and smile from the bottom of her heart.
Cordelia: (You always said you wanted to be of help to me someday, but I'd say you've already been helping me for a long time...)
Cordelia: (So this is what you call justice... Haha, how befitting of you. You're a beautiful person, Bridgette.)
Bridgette: Hm, did you say something?
Cordelia: No, it's nothing.
Two contemporaries of the Order of Holy Knights forge deep everlasting bonds transcending personality and belief.
A secret unknown to the other holy knights, it is one they will keep for the rest of their lives.